Monday, January 31, 2011
Tinted moisturizers are ideal for anyone who wants to add hydration and even tone to their complexions without having to sacrifice comfort. While still considered a "coverage" product, tinted moisturizers rarely have any.
Jouer Cosmetics offers up a formula that is not only designed to keep skin light and fresh looking, but goes one step further to create natural but buildable coverage. With a bit of product swiped over skin, it immediately conforms to tone and masks imperfections without turning your face into a completely blank canvas. It has a "light-diffusing multi-mineral formula" and full spectrum SPF 20 to protect against UVA and UVB rays. To offer further free radical protection this oil-free formula also boasts Ginseng Root and Ginko Biloba Leaf extract to add further nourishment to dry or element stressed skin.
Luminizing Moisture Tint has a soft and creamy feel to it like a day moisturizer that blends easily with other products like cream foundations and concealors. If necessary, you can also layer under a liquid foundation to create a more luminous finish with slightly more opaque coverage ideal for special events or personal appearances.
Or, when in need of softer looking coverage, I've gone as far as dusting a bit of foundation powder over high points and t-zone that is quickly absorbed into the product without going too matte. Because of the tiny particles of light in the formula, there's not much that can be done to make it look flat or dull. And whether your color ranges from very light to deep, Jouer has certainly got you covered.
Jouer Lumizing Moisture Tint; $38.00
The most stubborn part of any cleansing ritual has to be waterproof mascara. Most times if you reach for a cleanser that has some kind of oily base, it's sure to break up all the fibers and polymers and give you a clean finish... but with a somewhat greasy result. Before you know it, you're having to wash your face one more time to remove the remover.
I tend to like cleansers that have very little, if any slickness to them so they are sure to wipe clean away. When I first picked up a bottle of INGLOT Makeup Remover the first thing I looked at was the ingredients listing. With "water" at the top of the list, this remover also carries a large dose of Poloxamer 184, an emollient solvent that breaks the surface area of water forcing it to become "wetter". This process breaks up the structure of makeup to dissolve even faster and ensure it releases from skin and lashes without agitation. The formula has in addition to water, other synthetic fillers, that ease the process of removing makeup when doused over a cotton ball. Held over the eye area for a moment then swept away pulls makeup off without irritation.
Although, I find this formula light and easy to use, there is a bit of moisture-like residue that dries away, but is best wiped one more time with a dry cotton ball or rinsed away with fresh water. Of course, that's true with any makeup remover to ensure that nothing is left behind. But just splashing some sink water over your face is a lot cheaper than reaching for another cleansing product.
INGLOT Makeup Remover; $9.00
Makeup artists are a pretty entertaining bunch of people, so gathering a group of them seems like an ideal premise for a television show. Even though it had been tried before from the beauty and fashion aspect of the industry, Face Off promises a more intriguing look via the prosthetic and creature effect side of the spectrum.
With makeup superstar judges Glen Hetrick (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the X-Files, Heroes), Ve Neill ( Mrs. Doubtfire, The Pirates of the Carribean franchise, Constantine) and Patrick Tatapoulos (the Underworld franchise, Independence Day, Stargate) the cast of known and unknown makeup artists coming from all over the globe will be critiqued on everything from age lines to bald caps and beyond.
From the season's first episode it was obvious that talent was an imperative when the contestants were challenged to create an animal/human hybrid character from scratch using a partner they had met only a day prior. Judges took into account not only the finished product (from afar and upclose inspection) but the working relationship as well. Anyone who's been on set knows how imperative it is to get along with your collaborator, especially when time is an issue.
And from those factors, the winning honour of this challenge went to Conor McCullagh, a Canadian born feature film artist who teaches full time at the prestigious Joe Blasco Makeup School in Florida.
Though, missing the first elimination was only a step towards the grand prize which includes $100,000 and a years supply of makeup from the prestigious Alcone Company. Conor now has 10 other contestants to out-do when it comes to impressing the judges and drawing in viewers to establish himself among the elite in makeup artistry. With the rest of the season ahead of them, will the SyFy Channel get viewers to marvel at the creation of monsters or have them running scared?
Wednesdays @ 10pm/9c
Friday, January 28, 2011
The proliferation of the internet has served to bring commerce to the masses. Anyone anywhere around the world now has the ability to purchase items that are not available at the corner store, shopping mall or duty-free outlet. With the success of the online marketplace, companies (cosmetics in particular) are now able to reach a wide variety of customers who may not have otherwise known their products.
Familiar brands to North America like MAC, Bobbi Brown and Kiehl's are able to reach places like Africa, Dubai and Japan while otherwise unknowns like Makeup Store, FACE Stockholm and Sulwhasoo can hit the states with an influx of new recognition not felt before the dot-com boom. And while I am a huge fan of new products, the one thing I always like to do before committing is testing them out. It's the main reason I even started a blog, so I can be more vocal about how I feel a particular product works and hopefully give some insight to others who may have trepidation to try them for themselves. In a means to be fair, I always like to highlight the good points and downplay the poor ones but give accurate information for you to make your own decisions.
With such a large amount of product to review, this can become very expensive.
So let me give you a little insight. Most cosmetics companies will provide samples of their products to industry insiders specifically so they can be reviewed. Now this may sound really cool, but it's actually a bit daunting. Sometimes I get an influx of products that I, personally, don't really care for. For one reason or another, it just doesn't suit me or what I do. So I'm left with a bag of goodies that go unused. Rather than trash them, I like to give them to colleagues (other bloggers, artists, enthusiasts) or try my best to recycle them. The one thing I would NEVER do is sell them.
Companies will send me products, usually labled "tester only", specifically for review or recommendation. If I am using a lipstick on a client I may just give it to her to touch up with later. And if she should be spotted with it, all the better press for the company. I get their appreciation, the client gets a great product and the company gets the exposure. NO MONEY CHANGES HANDS. So for me to take a product and use it to make a profit would be highly unethical. And I don't need that kind of karma.
If you've ever seen a banner ad or link to "half-price XYZ brand makeup", please know that it's a scam. Much like buying a purse from a box on Canal Street, you're either buying something fake or stolen. And, yes, both practices are illegal.
Some websites like gmarket or eBay will offer sample packets of products and claim to be official representatives of the brand. They are not. THEY ARE NOT. These brands have corporate offices whose sole purpose is to make sales higher from their corporate websites. Why would they use any other outlet?
But, once in a while, some do. For example; while you may be able to purchase from the official Bobbi Brown website, you may also go to the Saks Fifth Avenue website and buy them there as well. Both outlets are contractually obligated to the brand. Any other seller is not. Especially someone who is on the street or an open market website.
Most people on social network purchasing sites have no affiliation with the brand, no authorization from the brand and are not held to any of the brand's standards of operation. So you may actually be buying counterfeit product, used product or even (bleh!) expired product. While you may be able to review the seller's practices on the site, that doesn't justify their means. Sure they may have shipped to you on time and for a great price, but it's very likely through less than honorable means. Possibly even a defunct former employee ditching their stash of gratis.
On that note, for me to recommend buying from anywhere other than the company's website or authorized affiliate is not only unethical, but teeters on consortment. A practice that, if captured, can be linked to larceny. And even if it wasn't (IT IS), it's still in very bad taste.
As always I urge you to please take the time to make educated purchases and wise decisions before buying. Including who you buy from.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The full texture and shiny finish of lipgloss is ideal to make smiles more alluring, pouty and full. The struggle is to find the right gloss that will leave lips looking enticing and not like you're drooling.
Generally I reach for glosses that are really "tacky" as they last longer during shoot days and read on film more brilliantly. But for everyday wear, Clarins thinks you shouldn't have to sacrifice shine for sticky lips. A formula boasting Perhydrosqualene, an organic compound derived from olives helps keep lips feeling hydrated and shiny without that familiar "tack".
While it does have a bit of girth, it's more reminiscent of a sleek sheen as opposed to gummy grit. Kind of like you have a bit too much lip balm on. But where lip balms fall short is luminous sheer color that is complimentary to be layered over lipsticks or just bare lips. Or you could even swipe Clarins Gloss Appeal over lip balm to lock in moisture and shine.
The texture is light and moist without looking excessively shiny. Ideal for eating, drinking and sneaking a kiss. And with colors ranging from neutral pinks to rich plums, all in sheer finishes, these glosses are anything but "tacky".
Clarins Gloss Appeal; $21.00
Monday, January 24, 2011
Cream blushes can be a bit heavy or dense because of polymers and bases used to create and hold their moist texture.
Fusion Beauty has taken these usual suspects and combined them with various other emollients and extracts to create a softer and more pliable formula that dries down to a powder finish. This creamy, yet light, texture adheres to skin and almost instantly becomes a silky and transparent tone that mimics skin's natural flush. Available in tones from coral to vivid pink, all shades blend effortlessly on all complexions.
Because of the lightweight texture, SculptDIVA Blush rounds out features and maintains natural moisture utilizing Hyaluronic Acid and easily creates the illusion of brighter and more prominent cheekbones. There is a bit of shimmer in the formula that also creates an ideal gleam to skin that I have even gone as far as to try out on lips. Even on un-moistened pouts, this formula keeps pliable without turning "cakey". A complex the brand is calling "AmpliFat™" is designed "to maintain youthful volume" and compliments the structure of skin on both the cheek and lip area.
The convenient tub with it's accompanying mirror and tight snap enclosure is lovely to look at and can be applied with fingertips or a suitable brush. Easily creates a soft, semi-matte finish without having to sacrifice necessary moisture.
Fusion Beauty SculptDIVA Blush; $29.00
Bourjois Paris innovated the "baked" method where various minerals and water would be blended together, formed into shape and then baked. Literally.
Since 1863, the company has modified the formula to accomodate methods of application and improve longevity of wear. Including creating matte, pearlized and shimmery finishes. Although it was designed to be lightweight and ultra pigmented, the formula seems to have become much more complicated than just mix-and-bake.
The addition of synthetic ingredients like Synthetic Fluorphologopite and Mineral Oil alongside the usual suspects like Copper Powder, Mica and Talc makes this product glide a bit smoother, shinier but not terribly lighter. Swirling over the top of the dome with your ring finger will leave you with rich, dense color that transfers to the eyes or skin brilliantly, but does have a bit of weight to it. Much like the way slightly undercooking a cake will leave it moist, these powder eyeshadows can slip if not set properly.
With the addition of these latest ingredients, I might have left them in the oven a bit longer.
Bourjois Little Round Pot Eyeshadow; $14.00
Friday, January 21, 2011
So this is a real thing.
Uhm, yea, interesting marketing campaign indeed. So let's just go ahead and collectively get our giggles out and point at the funny little cartoon monkey's red rear end...
Okay, okay... I think that's all of them... okay... OKAY... alright, I'm done. I'm done.
So, now that that's over, here's the scoop. Anti Monkey Butt Powder is a Talc based formula that utilizes Calamine as an agent to relieve itch and prevent soreness. The powder is refined and has a subtle "medicinal" scent that doesn't really linger, but that depends on where you put it.
The term "monkey-butt" is a euphemism "used by motorcycle riders to describe the soreness, itching and redness that occurs when you ride and sweat on a motorcycle for hours. If you have to walk bowlegged like a monkey to prevent your skin from rubbing, you have Monkey Butt!"
Ideally, this product would suit anywhere you have excessive sweating from exertion common to athletes, truck drivers and even soldiers during PT. A small dusting inside shoes/boots, over the palms of hands before gripping or private areas on long road trips will keep you from developing offensive odor, chafing or the irritation that may result. You could even use it between bathings to absorb excess oils on long camping trips or hikes. It's actually quite a usefull product.
But look at that monkey's big ol' red BUTT!!
Anti Monkey Butt Powder; $5.95
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Powder foundations are generally made of powder. This one is not.
I initially thought there was a packaging mistake. I even had to go to the Kevyn Aucoin Beauty website to double check the name since I was under the impression I would open up the compact and see... well, powder. But then again, I should have had an inkling something was a bit amiss with "Dew Drop" in the title.
So, The Dew Drop Powder Foundation is actually a cream product that turns to powder. This cream to powder product lays down pretty easily on the skin even without prepping with moisturizer first. It's heavy in emollients like Carnauba and Candelilla waxes that hold the product firm but melt into skin leaving a silky texture behind. Without additional powder products to set, this foundation leaves a demi-matte finish and medium buildable coverage.
Actually, if you decide not to use a translucent powder to set the makeup, you can still dust the skin with bronzer, blush or highlighters in powder form without worrying that they'll stick or look heavy. Once the foundation dries down, pretty much any powder product will blend pretty well with the use of a soft, fluffy brush.
Though if you decide to use bronzer, blush or highlighter in cream forms you'll find they maintain their luminosity but combine with the powder function of the formula to set and stay put. Still no need for more powder.
I feel like I need to check the label again.
Kevyn Aucoin The Dew Drop Powder Foundation; $54.00
Giorgio Armani Beauty has created a silky texture thanks to refined micro-spheres and "lipophobic & hydrophobic powders increase the resistance of the make up over time".
That threw me for a loop.
Of course, I'm a bit of a word-nerd and noticed the prefix's "lipo", referring to fats and "hydro", referring to water attached to the suffix "phobic", meaning fear or aversion. So this powder is afraid of fats and water?
The combination of elements in this powder reduce the opportunity to be permeated by water and oils the skin produces so the mattifying properties last throughout the day with little need to be touched up. A light dusting with the included sponge is enough to keep shine at bay. Although, I do prefer to use a brush as opposed to a sponge to moderate coverage.
But there's actually no need to worry about too heavy a look either as this Lasting Silk UV Foundation Powder glides on easily and only holds to the most moist parts of skin leaving a very even tone. I'd say that both methods offer medium coverage that can be sheered down with blending or built up with a covering foundation.
On top of that it boasts SPF 34 to help guard against harmful UV rays and protect maturing skin. Got oils, water and sun-rays covered... nothing left to fear.
Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation Powder; $59.00
It's snowing. A whole lot. It's gonna keep snowing. Of course, it's kind of expected 2 months into Winter, but I imagine no one wants to look as though the icy cold has taken a toll on your complexion.
"Dull" or lifeless skin is the most common reason people, unfortunately, head for the tanning salon with all it's skin scorching qualities. Not a great idea when you'll just be hidden under layers of coats and scarfs anyway.
A safer mode of adding glow would be to reach for something like St. Tropez Radiance Mousse. Unlike a self-tanning lotion that can leave you with orange streaks, this light-weight mousse leaves only a trace of bronzed glimmer to the skin that compliments tones from medium light to dark. It's soft texture blends easily into skin leaving only the slightest of residue that can be reduced by consistently massaging it into skin.
Although the formula does contain petrolatum there's not much greasy feel however it does leave a bit of transfer on clothes if put on too liberally.
Might I suggest a nude romp in the snow?
St. Tropez Radiance Mousse; $35.00
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Ew! Why is this even a question?!
Crossed my mind.
I was thinking about how often I tend to wash even when I haven't been doing anything that necessitated it.
For the last few days I've been chained to my computer with no need to even put on shoes and I realized that I hadn't really done anything exertive that caused me to sweat or accumulate dirt. So I skipped a shower. And then another. Felt oddly liberating.
That's disgusting, didn't you feel dirty?
Well, it's not like I didn't make use of hand soap when preparing meals or other necessary sanitizing essentials. On top of that, I don't wear makeup or even sunscreen as I have stayed indoors so there is no accumaltion of buildup. Ironically, my skin feels great. Appropriately moist without looking dull or lifeless.
I would have thought that that came from proper cleaning.
Well, yes, washing your skin does induce circulation but the over-exertion of "scrubbing" can remove too many layers of skin cells and cause abrasion over time. Sometimes this will lead to an oversensitivity and even enlarges pores to recieve even more debris. Which means, pimples, blackheads and blotchiness. An uneven complexion can be symptomatic of over-cleansing. That's usually why you're recommended to use exfoliators and other harsh cleansing products pretty sporatically.
I guess that makes sense, but didn't your hair feel greasy?
Not really. Ironically, it feels really soft and manageable. I have really thick, coarse hair that is prone to split ends and it seems as though the sebum (natural oils) my scalp produces are easing all the frays. All I've been doing is running a comb through it a few times and it seems to stay in place without losing any bounce. On top of that the condition of my style seems to be improving and it looks like a lot of luster is returning to it. Like I was wearing a leave-in serum or something.
Uhhh,... didn't you smell?
I don't think so. Of course, that's a bit speculative. There's documented evidence that "scent" is known to be an aphrodisiac, the most potent of which is natural aroma. In a letter to his beloved Josephine, Napolean Bonaparte was quoted as saying, " I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Don't wash." After being away for stretches of time, more than wanting to be with her, he wanted to smell her.
Of course, the French culture is known for cultivating the most popular fragrances in the world, mostly in answer to an aversion to daily bathing. Much like the ancient Romans and Greeks, Europeans relied on essential and fragrant oils as a means to mask or remove any offensive odours.
Aren't you going to have to clean even harder once you do FINALLY bathe?
Nope. Actually, sebacious glands are great at moderating any unnecessary dirt that my skin would come into contact with and any "grime" will just slide away. It's almost easier to clean as a matter of fact. There's an additional slip to my skin and hair leaving any residual natural oils to condition what may have been over-dried by over-cleansing.
Not that I'm going to make a habit of going without bathing, but it's an interesting experiment. The result of which has actually improved the look and feel of my skin and hair. If you're ever locked away in your apartment, I'd say give it a try.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Among the beauties at the Golden Globe Awards bedazzling the red carpet was the inimitable Angeline Jolie who looked stunning as ever with her signature winged liner and pouty, full lips. Her beauty is truly unmatched and equally as unnatainable.
Or is it?
During the awards ceremony, cameras panned over to the Jolie/Pitt table to see the star of SALT swiping gloss on her enviable pout. And for an even briefer moment, the world realized that even flawless beauties need a little touching up.
While twitter and facebook alike were all a-buzz with speculation and intrigue, yours truly took it upon himself to find answers. What was she using? Which brand does the femme fatale reach for when feeling a little less than perfect?
As I scoured the internet for clues, I found a common thread; Chantecaille Cosmetics. The star has many a time been referring to the brands Brilliant Lipgloss as her favorite to have in her makeup bag. And the shade she reaches for the most seems to be "Crystalline", but I don't think the pale beige tone is quite the one in the pictures above and below. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the color she's using is "Charm". This tone is also a noted favorite, but has a tinge of pink that is more complimentary and reads on the red carpet as being much warmer. Plus, she already mentioned it's her red-carpet-go-to.
But who really cares? She looks amazing. And it's nice to know that even the most beautiful women need a little guilding.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
"Redefine natural beauty..."
I'm a little disappointed in you COVERGIRL.
Not because you've created an inferior product. As a matter of fact, I quite like the satin-like finish and buildable coverage of your NatureLuxe Foundation as well as it's compatibility with most of the powders and creams in my kit. I've even gone as far as to blend it with a cream foundation when I feel like I need more coverage but want to maintain that same smooth finish. Your product even sets well with highlighting powders and wears for a good amount of time before wearing down.
So what's the problem?
Aluminum Hydroxide is a synthetic ingredient used to create opacity in cosmetic formulas.
Dimethicone is a silicone derivative that acts like a filling and water binding agent that although "naturally derived" doesn't quite add moisture so much as refuses it to release.
Talc, although prevalent is very questionable as to it's toxicity to mucus membranes like eyes, lips and nostrils.
These ingredients are not terribly detrimental, but do leave me questioning why you would include them in a product line that claims to be "natural". It's almost like you know it's questionable since you're only highlighting the use of ingredients like Cucumber Water and Jojoba and Rose Hip extracts. All part of your marketing strategy, I understand, but I guess I'm just exhausted when I hear jargon that doesn't have any legal basis.
Not that any other brands behave any better, but your claim that it's somehow better than even your own other formulas makes me cringe when I see too many similarities. So until things change, I guess there's no real problem with your slightly deceptive techniques.
I'd feel better if there was a bit more transparency. And although I may reach for this foundation from time to time, I'll recommend it for it's function as opposed to what it's made of. I'm not in your marketing department, after all.
COVERGIRL NatureLuxe Silk Foundation; $11.99
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Again, fragrance is something I tend to avoid. Although, when done properly, it's actually a pretty nice treat.
I find that I'm not so interested in fragrance because there's really no practical use for it in my field. I mean, I know we lump it together with the rest of cosmetics in general, but you can't actually smell a product through the screen of a music video or the pages of an editorial spread. So, it doesn't really matter to me what the product smells like, so long as it looks good.
When famed fragrance house Guerlain opted into color cosmetics, it took it's signature scent and incorporated it into every product under it's manufacture. To me, it's a bit like a faded rose with a light powdery finish and just a smidge of musk.
Oh, que fancy, I can distinguish top notes of perfume!
Seriously, sometimes I think there's a bit of something to it that is distinctively floral but then melts away without any kind of headiness.
Not to say that Meteorites Perles isn't a lovely product to look at! Each individual powder ball is hand picked and sorted into it's container by a meticulous assembly line who's job is to make sure that each and every ball of light is proportioned to suit it's purpose of guising complexions into flawless radiance. Coming in a combination of tones to offset redness, dullness and improve life of skin, Meteorites Perles is the ideal highlighter for skin tones from very fair to medium dark.
When you open the container you'll see each layer of one color right on top of the next. Simply remove the included puff, replace the lid and give it a little shake. The product will release, all the perles will distribute evenly and you're ready for an elegant dusting of light over your skin. Improved tone, glow and overall complexion perfection.
All this and a lovely fragrance too.
Guerlain Meteorites Perles; $56.00
Monday, January 10, 2011
Darian Darling is a blogger, homemaker, and lifestyle ICON to all that is blonde or aspires to be blonde. They do have more fun after all! From hosting events with Amanda Lepore to touring with Lady Gaga, Darian has been a staple of New York City nightlife and proved to be the example of what a party girl should be.
Through a collaboration with Woody's Bar on the Lower East Side, Darian has started her own party to show the masses how it's done. With performances from popular NYC acts like musician Breedlove to go-go boys and girls swinging about the poles, Darian has made certain everyone is to have a good time. Including offering an open bar from 11pm to midnight. She sure knows how to break the ice!
A filthy glamOURous cast was to be seen coming through the doors including gorgeous gender-illusionists to scene stealers in their SUNDAY (night) best. I gazed at the intricate details that went into preparation for the fete' from assymetrical haircuts, full beards and tattoos to lipliner, false lashes and countouring that could cut glass. Truly, the most glamourous SUNDAY I could ever hope to have. Maybe I should follow Darian's lead and go blonde?
Lauryn Hill gained notoriety with appearances in feature films like "Sister Act II" and garnered admiration as part of the R&B group "The Fugees", but with the release of her debut album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", she was cemented in history as one of the most talented women in music to this day. With a record 10 Grammy nominations and 5 wins in one night, Lauryn Hill has maintained composure and dignity that can be heard in her melodic voice and seen in her gorgeous eyes.
The opportunity to work with this kind of music icon goes to makeup artist (and hairstylist)William Miranda, whose work has been showcased on cable news shows, soap operas, fashion shows and countless brides all over New York and the surrounding region. With 14 years of makeup under his belt, Will has been able to accentuate Ms. Hill's striking features for her appearances on various tours and events after her much debated 12 year hiatus. Will has approached her makeup with a keen eye focusing on skin and embellishing with hints of rich color;
“I like to think of her style as funky chic. She wears a lot of elite brands, from Louis Vuitton to Alexander McQueen, and then funks it up with chunky, decadent accessories. I tend to stick with classic highlighting and contouring techniques using rich earthy tones. Colors like bark, maroon and orange really compliment her warm complexion. That said, she is certainly not afraid of bold color and has been known to wear a fuchsia lip or a vibrant green eyeliner.
The main objective with her overall look is to stay current, even when using classic techniques. She is very in tune with the world of fashion and will take makeup and hair queues from the runways of Europe.”
Some favorite products for application are;
Temptu SB Foundation; 009 Natural Mocha/012 Espresso
Makeup For Ever Full Cover Concealer; #12/#14
Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder; No. 36 Orange Beige/No. 56 Caramel
Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit; No. 4 Dark
OCC Lip Tar; Fondue/ Vintage/ Harlot/ Strutter/ Katricia/ Demure
NARS Blushes; Dolce Vita/ Taos/ Exhibit A
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
L'Oreal, the cosmetics brand behind Infallible Lip Color and Elnett Hairspray, is sold throughout the continental United States in beauty supply, drug stores and large box retailers. The products are endorsed by celebrities like Beyonce Knowles and Linda Evangelista who's enviable looks are created by big time makeup artists like James Kaliardos using, of course, L'Oreal products. The brand has implemented it's own youtube channel to give the consumer more information on using it's line of makeup, hair and skincare but there really is nothing like experiencing it for yourself.
Retailers like Duane Reade and Kmart generally offer the entire range, but no testers. No opportunity to feel, and experiment like you would at stores like Sephora or get professional advice from sales people like at MAC. And although the line is extensive and offers multiple formulas and textures, it's not likely that the average consumer is able to make an educated decision on purchases without that first-hand experience.
Last fall, I had read in Women's Wear Daily that the multi-national company was to release a boutique in Manhattan's Upper East Side that would remedy that issue and give consumers more insight to not only purchases but application as well. My curiosity piqued, I was even more taken aback when I learned the location, within Bed, Bath and Beyond. The press release boasted that there would be "L'Oreal Beauty Advisors" on hand to answer questions on products and even make recommendations for that perfect shade of red lipstick.
Last week, I decided to make the trip and see for myself what the location had to offer, anticipating a scene much like the one pictured above complete with swanky lighting and organized shelving units. And, even though it did have those features, there was something a bit amiss about it. Perhaps that it was located directly across from a display of toilet paper, but I wasn't as impressed as I think I wanted to be. There was a distinct difference between this shopping area and the aisles at drug stores, but with one major similarity; no tester display. When asked, the brand representative did reach down beneath a table where a hand-cart held multiple testers of items but with a limited amount of colors available for each formula.
I have previously become familiar with L'Oreal when they sponsored me at The Sundance Film Festival a few years back, but they have since released other items that I hadn't much experience with. A perfect opportunity to get some info by a trained professional. The brand reps are employees of both L'Oreal and Bed, Bath and Beyond but have specific training on the products in their part of the store only. Still capable of directing customers to other parts of the store, these sales people are chained to the boutique location. And while, not makeup artists per se, they have all the background information on products as one would expect from any other cosmetics boutique. It's a nice way to create intrigue on items the regular customer may not be familiar with as well and even allure them to the aisle of their drug stores when on another shopping excursion.
I haven't any word on whether or not L'Oreal has any plans on opening more boutiques either freestanding or within other retailers, but this one is worth the trip if you happen to be on the Upper East Side. Plenty of information and opportunity to view all the products they have to offer. But to stand apart from other retail locations, I'd rather there be a more extensive tester unit.
@ Bed, Bath and Beyond
E. 61st Street and 1st Avenue